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on March 31, 2000
Having been brought up in a strong Classical background I was a little nervous of a "modern children's version" of the Illiad. I shouldn't have worried. I actually bought BLACK SHIPS for an undergraduate that I was tutoring on sources of modern British literature, but my 7 year old daughter took it away before I could get it to the college. I worried at first that Clare might be scared by some of the very dramatic pictures, but she was enthralled with the whole story and kept coming back to it for days afterwards. I should add that my undergrad was also entranced once I finnaly got it to her and felt that it compared very well with the complete translation of the original that we also read. New age? Hardly! This is a scholarly-but-fun-interpretaion of a gem.
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on July 22, 2000
Both my husband and I love the Iliad and wanted our children to grow up with it. We have about eight versions of the Iliad at home, and while our children like all of them, the Sutcliffe is far and above the best -- it doesn't patronize, it loses very very little of the plot's narrative, ethical, or emotional complexity, and the reviewer who claimed that "moral messages" are lost must not realize that Homer himself, thank the Gods, moralizes very little and that everything that could reasonably be called by that slightly unenchanting term 'message' is well and alive in this version. Over the last two years, we have read it aloud to both children (now 6+7) at least five times, both have read it or in it by themselves as well, and neither we nor they have grown tired of it. It isn't an easy book to read for younger children, and they need their parents the first time around, but its relative difficulty prolongs its shelflife considerably -- I imagine our children will return to it for quite a few years. The rather dramatic art work is certainly not 'new age,' but neither does it classicize. It's made a great present for our children's friends. My only complaint is that it hasn't come out in paperback.
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on October 9, 2007
I have not yet read this book- so my review is only based on my disappointment that I bought this book after reading about the wonderful illustrations. I have a much longer version of the Iliad, which I am reading to my children. I bought this so I could read it to them also, to give them more of an understanding of the Iliad. I read the wonderful reviews about the illustrations and thought the book sounded perfect. While the cover is beautiful, it is the ONLY illustration in the whole book. The older edition must be the one with the pictures, I will be checking into whether or not it is still available.
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on August 6, 2001
I am so grateful to have found this excellent version of the Iliad. The heroes, the action and the richness of the story are all maintained in this very accessible version of the classic. The story is broken into chapters that are each a good size for a bedtime read--although my 10 year old son pleaded for "1 more chapter" at the end of each one, and I continued because it is an enjoyable read-aloud. He finally took it himself and read it through. Any good listener who enjoys a rich story - age 7+ - would enjoy this as a read-aloud. Recommended.
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on September 24, 2002
Rosemary Sutcliffe keeps the drama and poetic language of Homer's "The Iliad" alive in this wonderful version. My 6- and 8-year-old children sat glued to their seats as I read this story to them. The causes of the Trojan War (The Golden Apple, Paris and Helen) are explained well, and the ensuing battles are depicted with vivid details. Alan Lee's illustrations are perfect for this story-- they give a clear idea of what is happening without being gory. My children loved this book, as did I. I heartily recommend it for a read-aloud, or even for an adult who hasn't read "The Iliad" by Homer. It's a wonderful introduction.
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on April 11, 2002
There are a few children's authors that are simply a must (Diane Stanley, Geraldine McCaughrean, Aliki, etc), and Rosemary Sutcliff is one of them!
The late Ms. Sutcliff has simply written the best version of the Illiad out there for children. Beginning with the wedding of Achilles' parents, the book covers all the major events of the Illiad including; the resulting dispute between the three Goddesses over the Golden apple, the judging by Paris, his departure with Helen, the hiding and finding of Achilles, and on, and on. Beautifully illustrated, every child should have one.
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on December 9, 1999
I read this aloud to my 6 and 10 year olds, and we enjoyed it (as well as Sutcliffe's companion book on the Odyssey). I thought the illustrations were well suited to the text and added interest, and the story held my children's and my interest as well. I would recommend it.
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on January 13, 2006
This is about the wars of Troy and about how it started and why. The Gods were having a party in Olympus which was their home. Only one wasn't invited; Eris, the goddess of Discord. She showed up anyway. Eager to get revenge for not invitng her to the party, she threw a golden apple among the guests. It was a beautiful apple. In fact it was so beautiful that the three most important goddesses claimed it. They were Athena, Aphrodite, And Hera. They went down and met Paris, a shepherd, and they asked him to say who should get the apple. They said that if he would give one of them the apple, they would give a gift. He chose Aphrodite. Her gift was for him to have the most beautiful wife in the world. That is how the Trojan War started. This book is a thriller that will carry you from beginning to end. It was my favorite so maybe it will be yours also. If you ever find it, sit down and read it and enjoy your afternoon!
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on March 10, 2003
No dumbing down here! Just a wonderful version of the Iliad that's respectful to childrens ears and has a beautiful use of language that's an enjoyable read for adults too. I think any child, hearing this story,will certainly be in a hurry to read the full Iliad as soon as they can!
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VINE VOICEon December 19, 2006
My seven year old and I read this together immediately after finishing the version of the Iliad retold by Ian Strachan and illustrated by Viktor Ambrus. While Sutcliff and Lee's effort is a good one, and I would recommend it highly, Strachan and Ambrus's is superior: the language is tighter and less florid, the artwork more dynamic and compelling. Unfortunately, the Strachan version is out of print and hard to find, but this one is a more than acceptable substitute.

Sutcliff's language is full (to the point of distraction) of similes and other figures of the "wine-dark sea" sort, which like a tongue-tingling seasoning (see what I mean?) is fine in moderation, but she overdoes it. Nevertheless, it's a good introduction to the Iliad. At 113 pages, it's possible to read this at bedtime over a week if you've checked it out from the school library, as my son did.

But do check out my review of the Strachan version.
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